The growing popularity of contactless technologies like NFC tags resulted in many people fearing criminals stealing their money stored in NFC cards. This fear resulted in many companies starting to market RFID-blocking products to keep people from being afraid.
RFID-blocking items typically come in several forms, including RFID-blocking pouches and wallets. Such items can protect items with embedded NFC stickers from scans by certain readers, ensuring that any NFC tag and card will be safe from bad actors.
It’s relatively easy to find RFID-blocking items, especially since it’s already become customary to use the term “RFID-blocking” to market specific wallets and bags. But does it actually work?
Do RFID-Blocking Items Really Work?
RFID-blocking items work; there’s no doubt about that. This is because they use RFID-blocking materials like a layer of carbon fibre or aluminium that blocks radio waves. Many items today are made with such materials, including wallets, fanny packs, and even small pouches.
Some people have even suggested using aluminium foil for homemade RFID-blocking solutions, but this is just thanks to the natural RFID-blocking capabilities of aluminium and nothing more.
Do You Need RFID-Blocking Items?
While there is a risk of attacks using RFID technology, they all require an attacker to be extremely close to the victim. Because of this simple fact, it hardly makes RFID blockers relevant since such attacks will be more unlikely to happen than the more common attacks where bad actors tamper with card readers in ATMs. Whether you need RFID-blocking features or not will depend on your preference.
Do you have an NFC credit or debit card? Then you’ll need RFID protectors to improve your security and prevent potential bad actor attacks. It doesn’t hurt to have RFID protection in case someone does try to scan where your wallet and cards likely are. This can be useful when you’re in crowded areas where you can’t distance yourself from people.
Do you not use NFC credit or debit cards? You don’t need any RFID-blocking items. You might not need RFID protection if you’re only using NFC business cards. But it doesn’t hurt to have one if you want to be sure that your data is not at risk.
Real crimes done by scanning NFC credit and debit cards are quite rare, but cybercriminals can theoretically do so and clone cards and make small transactions. Small transactions are easier to overlook than large ones, so banks might be unable to cancel such transactions. Extra security through RFID protectors can’t hurt. This video can talk more about this.
What You Really Need to be Concerned About
Sure, there can be some crimes done by bad actors through scanning cards in wallets, but the real concern is when the cards are used in point-of-sale terminals and ATMs. Many bad actors typically skim cards through them using unique readers, and no amount of RFID protection can help from this.
When wanting a secure experience while using NFC, it’s essential to update the NFC’s firmware and software and look into encrypting the data encoded in the tag. You can learn more from our past article on whether NFC technology is still a vulnerable technology. RFID protectors can boost security, but you must still be careful when using NFCs. Avoiding sketchy ATMs and POS terminals should be enough to mitigate the other risks.
RFID protection is something that many people might want, and there’s really nothing wrong with wanting one. Remember not to depend entirely on it to safeguard any data encoded in your NFC tags.
There’s no harm in getting a credit card protector, so get one while practising due diligence in having a secure experience with NFC. You can also contribute to planting trees by ordering one, so buying one means boosting your own security WHILE helping plant a tree for one order.